Survey Shows Late Credit Card Payments Aren’t Always About Being Broke

Everyone knows that carrying a balance on your credit card can lead to interest fees, adding to your debt. However there’s another expensive risk that consumers may run afoul of: late fees. In fact a new survey from the personal finance site WalletHub finds that 46 million Americans anticipate missing a credit card payment this year for one reason or another.

Contrary to what you might assume, the top reason given for these expected missed payments wasn’t a lack of funds. Instead 44% of respondents said that forgetfulness would be to blame. This response was twice as common among high-income earners. Of course not having enough money was the second most popular response with 30%. Other reasons included the credit card in question not charging late fees (9%), respondents would be traveling (9%), or that they’d be too busy (8%).

Although credit card bills aren’t the only types of payments that might be overlooked, they do seem to be what consumers worry about the most, with 29% of those surveyed stating as much. That was followed closely by mortgage payments, which 26% of respondents said they worry most about. Incidentally this response actually ranked first among those aged 45 to 59. Meanwhile 18% put taxes at the top of their list, although this was the top response for those over 59 years of age. These answers were then followed by electricity bills (12%), auto loans (10%), and cable bills (5%).

The good news is that the overwhelming majority (90%) of those who have attempted to have their credit card late fees waived have been successful in that endeavor. As WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou explained, “Credit card users who almost always pay their monthly bills on time but fail to do so once in a blue moon should definitely try to ask their credit card company to waive any associated late fee.” Unfortunately only 43% of those surveyed reported taking this route. Moreover Baby Boomers were twice as likely to have tried this, with only 24% of younger adults giving it a shot compared to 52% of older individuals.

Even if forgiveness may be an option, missing a credit card payment is never a good thing. Therefore it may be a good idea to opt into the reminder texts and e-mails that many card issues offer. Additionally third-party tools like Mint, Money Patrol, and many others may also be helpful in keeping you top of things. Even better, if forgetfulness is still an issue, you might be able to set-up automatic monthly transfers so that you never miss a payment again.

Author

Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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